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What material is best for making windows

Updated on June 19, 2013

Thinking of changing your windows but just don't know what type of windows you should get. Just Like everything else. You will hear good and bad about all types of windows. So were do you start. First step is have a look a some of the main materials that windows are made from today.

Below is a list of some of the main materials that windows are made from today. Note : this is not a technical detailed list. It is a short list in plain English so that anyone can understand.

u.P.V.C windows : In short these are plastic windows and are most likely the most popular material used to make windows with now days. It comes in many colours and can be made into almost any shape.

Thermal Break Aluminium : This is an aluminium material which is cut in half than rejoined with a hard carbon insulted strip. This is done to stop the cold travelling from the outside to the inside. Which in turn stops condensation building up on the inside.

Alu Clad windows : This is a timber window with an aluminium casing covering the timber on the outside. The makes for a warmer window because of the timber frame on the inside. Plus you don't have the hassle of painting the outside every few years because of the aluminium casing.

Timber windows : There are many different types of timber being used to make windows. And it is still hard to beat the natural beauty of timber. Plus it has come a long way in design wise and you don't have to treat or paint it as much Like you had to with older designs

Below are some Pros with the different window materials

u.P.V.C windows

Good choice of colour systems. / Good insulation / Easy to find spare parts like hinges and handles / Good security with multi point locking systems. / Choice of frame thickness to make it look more like timber.

Thermal Break Aluminium

This is not as good at insulating because it is still a metal and metal is cold in nature. But all the other points are the same as the pvc window plus you will find most handles and hinges will do this system and the pvc system

Alu Clad windows

Very good insulating values because of the timber frame on the inside. Plus the get the beauty of a timber window without the hassle of painting the outside every few years. Handles and hinges for this type of window are not as common as the pvc windows. Which can make it harder to find good value spare parts for your windows

Timber windows

Good insulation / looks good / Hardware like handles and hinges can be a bit tricky now because of the many different types of timber systems being used.

Cons of the different window systems. Below are a few of the main things that go wrong with windows.

Warping : Can happen to all systems except the Thermal break aluminium

Discolouring : pvc & aluminium should last 30 years at least without discolouring if it is made of a good quality material. Timber will need to be treated every few years no matter what your sales rep tells you timber is timber and will discolour and fade within a few years. Plus if you don't paint your timber they will start to split and deteriorate very fast.

Handles & hinges : There are many different types used on all systems and the sad thing about it now. Is most companies use the cheaper variety which is designed to last just a few years. So no matter what system you choose make sure you can get parts for them. You will find a bathroom window and a kitchen window is used the most so the handles and hinges will start to go after a few years or sooner. But other windows that are not used as much should last 7 to 10 years before they go depending on how much use they get.

Seals : On all system the main seal used is rubber. So after about 10 years you will find that it flattens out and hardens.

Security : Most system today will have a multi point locking system. But the thing you should watch out for is if your window is internal glazed this means the glass can only be taken out from the inside.

Now after all this you more than likely still don't know what window system you should choose. But what you will of learned. Is that no matter what system you choose it is just as good as the other. What you need to watch out for. Is who is making your windows and were do they get the material from.

Below is some points to check when choosing your window supplier

1 : Window section Check what they use is it a world wide name which is tried and tested plus how long is the warranty with it. You should have at least a 15 year waranty.

2 : Hardware : This has a separate warranty from the window section and can be only 12 months sometimes. You should look for a five year warranty on your hardware and get it in writing.

3 Glass : Again this is a separate warranty from the rest. The normal one is seven years. But some of the warm edge double glazing will give 15 years or more of a warranty.

3 Fitting : The fitting of your windows & doors are very important because if your window or door is fitted of square by even a small bit. This will lead to extra wear and tear on the hardware. Which will make it break faster.


You will find that one system is as good as the other for making windows with. So when you are choosing go for one that suits your house and one that you like. Because it is you that will be looking at it for the rest of you life.

Some Hints

1 : If you don't like painting don't buy timber.

2 : If you like a very small frame that is very strong Than maybe aluminium is best for you

3 : For a good range of colours & timber effects plus good insulating factors than pvc may well suit you

4 : If you want the beauty of timber and not the hassle of painting every few years Than maybe Alu clad is for you.

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